Creating an anchor on your desk

23 May 2019

Using a tray to clear desktop clutter

On social media, I saw a link to a New York Times Wirecutter article called Tame Your Desk Clutter With This One Simple Trick. You can bet I clicked on it.

The article, which is definitely worth a read, suggests using small Muji plastic trays to place random small items in to corral them. (That’s the one simple trick.) To be sure, a desk surface can attract small items that can feel hard to keep in check.

In organizing, we call this anchoring. If you put a tray or basket under a more-or-less random pile of stuff, it feels orderly. Think salt-and-pepper shakers and other tabletop paraphernalia. They can feel scattered if unanchored but if a tray is placed underneath, it feels organized.

I found myself wanting to buy one some of these little Japanese trays and give the concept a try on my desk, though I don’t have a whole lot of desk clutter (this week, anyway). When I was at the Container Store, I picked up a Compact Plastic Lid/Tray. It’s part of a set of containers, whose lids are sold separately, that come in four sizes. I bought the Extra Small size (5 5/8” × 3 7/8” × 3/4”) though I would have purchased the Small lid (7 3/4” × 5 5/8” × 7/8”) if they’d had any in stock.

I have two little items on my desk that make me smile (a metal poodle, which my husband gave me to represent Bix when getting Bix was my birthday present four years ago, and a little metal disk I found on the street that says “Hello Sunny”). They used to live on my monitor stand, but when I got a new monitor I emptied and moved the stand. So these items were floating free on my desktop. I put them in the little tray, along with my water bottle (also from the Container Store back in the day) and I have to admit the whole thing makes me happy! My water bottle feels less likely to be tipped over and less like clutter. And my little poodle stays visible.

What do you think of this concept? I’m not sure it’s life changing, but it was a fun experiment for me.

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I wish I could attach a picture. I have a medium sized shaker tray that I love that corrals my pen & pencil holder, stapler, Post-it dispenser, tape dispenser, scissors and lip balm. No matter how trashed my desk is, I can find these items when I am ready to start working on the pile. They don’t get mixed up with everything else.

Jeri Feaster 06/15/2019 02:18 PM

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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